Lockport’s first post-Prohibition brewery, New York Beer Project, is set to mark three years since they first opened their doors, and what a three years it has been for Western New York’s ‘Destination Brewery.’

From raising over $16,000 for Oishei Children’s Hospital through their partnership with Perry’s Ice Cream (18 months and counting), a collaborative effort that has spawned Panda Paws Porter and fan favorite White Christmas, which sold out in four weeks last year, to donating a portion of sales of their Walter’s Jelly Donut Raspberry Kolsch to the American Cancer Society of WNY in October, NYBP has long used their beer to give back.

It’s that strong sense of community that has allowed New York Beer Project to not only continue to succeed, but to expand. They are currently in the process of constructing a second facility up the road in Victor, NY. That communal support keeps the brewery thriving according to Owner Kelly Krupski, who says the people themselves are one of her major highlight of this past year.

“Among my 2018 highlights is the overwhelming response from our supporters,” she says. “It’s humbling and we never take that for granted.”

She adds that they would have never imagined being on the verge of opening a second location, but that they have learned so much since opening their doors just three short years ago.

Head Brewer Jason Crossett

“What a crazy, exciting, inspiring journey these past three years have been. If you had told us back when we opened [that] we’d be building a second location, almost as big as the first, I’d say you were nuts -but here we are, serving record breaking crowds, and about to open our amazing new NYBP Beer Hall in Victor! We’ve learned so much since we opened the doors on November 19, 2015. Most times the learning curve wasn’t at an easy angle – we’re talking 180 degrees straight up – don’t look down – hold on tight – holy shit, but it’s been an exciting ride, one we wouldn’t give up for anything.”

Head Brewer Jason Crossett shares in her excitement, adding that the brewery’s success has allowed him to increase his brewing team. “This past year has been great!” he says. “We’ve added another talented brewer to our team, Ben Elford, giving us three amazing brewers! (Greg Zorn and Pat Bradley are the other two on our team).”

To date, NYBP has brewed over 150 unique beers, including over 50 in the past year alone. Krupski says that number is a sheer testament to the talent and work ethic of Crossett and NYBP’s team of brewers.

“We’re extremely proud of our craft portfolio. We came out with over 50 unique styles and combinations of unique variations of local hops and ingredients this year alone,” Krupski says. “Most of them are only available at our Lockport location, and soon to be Victor. That’s a testament to Head Brewer Jason Crossett and his fantastically creative brewing team.”

Those beers include NYBP flagships such as Destination IPA, Righteous Dude Double IPA, Lockport Lager, Gameday Wit and Supernatural Sour, as well as more experimental offerings like The One New England IPA, Carrot Cake Ale and Red Velvet Cake Ale. Among all of those beers, a few have stood out to Crossett from the past year, including HammuRYEbi’s Code, a barrel aged rye in Black Button Rye Whiskey barrels, a collaboration brew with Ontario’s Royal City, Mason’s Honey Blond, Hard Day’s Night American Porter (“a perfect balance of roast, dark chocolate, and coffee with a light caramel sweetness,” Crossett says. “Reminds me of one of my all-time favorites, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald”), Ben’s West Coast Destination and Greg’s Righteous Cousin Vinnie (“both great representations of a West Coast-style IPA), and Righteous Dudette Triple IPA.

Looking back at 2017, a handful of memories stick with Crossett, including brewing collaboration beers with Royal City and Cowbell for the Can AM Beer Festival. “Although the actual event ultimately fell through, it did give me an opportunity to get to know the brewers at each brewery and create long lasting friendships. Truly awesome people making great beer!”

“Mixology sessions with Scott Donovan and crew at Blackbird [Cider Works] to come up with a beer/cider hybrid, which we released this past September (Snakebite),” he continues. “We blended our Gameday Wit with his Estate Cider to create a beautifully tasty beverage.” Hosting the Brewer’s Invitational – “it was great to have all the other WNY breweries in house showcasing the amazing beers they make.” Working with Jason Evchich and his foundation, Mason’s Mission, in crafting a beer (Mason’s Honey Blonde Ale) to help raise money for his foundation. “I’ve gotten to know him a lot over this past year and to meet his wife and family. I definitely gained a great friend from this,” and brewing Class is in Session IPA with all the other WNY breweries for Buffalo Beer Week.

NYBP’s future location in Victor

In terms of the future, it’s pretty easy to know what both Krupski and Crossett are looking forward to – their new Victor location. For Crossett, it’s about both locations collaborating on beers.

“I’m looking forward to both breweries collaborating on beers and I’d love to see some blending of barrel aged beers from both locations,” he says. “It certainly would be a lot of fun with the potential for making some amazing unique beers!”

“We just launched our new NYBP Victor Facebook page, where every day you’ll find a treasure trove of information and education on this amazing facility that explores New York State brewing history and recreates the opulent Atlantic Garden Beer Hall, circa 1871. The FB page will also be the place to get insider information on all the exciting announcements, such as the reveal of the new NYBP Victor head brewer, our creative new Executive chef relocating from a well-known vacation destination, as well as the opening lineup of craft we will have for thirsty Western New Yorkers. [All of the] grand opening deets can be found here as well,” Krupski adds. Follow NYBP Victor Beer Hall at www.facebook.com/NYBPVictorBeerHall.

While New York Beer Project officially turns three on November 19, they are celebrating the day before, where they will be releasing four Imperial Stouts, each with a different yeast strain (limited release only, 5 gallons each). “We brewed a 10.25 % Imperial Stout that we are going to age in bourbon barrels. We had a lot of residual sugars left over with making that beer that we rinsed the grains again and collected 25 gallons of wort. Each brewer chose a different yeast strain to ferment with and aged with different ingredients to yield four different stouts,” Crossett says.

The four beers include version’s fermented with NYBP’s house lager strain aged on chai tea, fermented with a Belgian Stout strain aged on sweet cherries, fermented with a Farmhouse strain aged on maple syrup and oak chips and fermented with an American Ale strain aged on cacao nibs (“blending this with the cherry aged version is tasty!” Crossett adds).

Things gets underway at 10am with an anniversary brunch (complimentary champagne toast), then crowlers of Righteous Dudette Triple IPA go on sale at 2pm (first 10 people receive souvenir Righteous Dudette poster) and White Christmas Belgian Ale returns at 5pm ($1 from every pint donated to Oishei’s). Also, from 2-5pm, purchase an Anniversary Teku Glass and receive complimentary tastings of four variations of Imperial Stout. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/events/1942266459187026/.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.